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issue: June 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

European Report
AMDEA 2005 Reveals UK Market Trends

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By Paul Roggema, European correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine

The UK has always had different habits than their neighboring Northern European countries. So it’s no surprise that the region would go against the trend in trade shows.

The UK hasn’t had a national trade fair for several years, so AMDEA, the UK trade association for domestic appliances, decided that a new start was needed. And perhaps they were right. The AMDEA 2005 Domestic Appliance Show, held on April 24-26, had great industry participation. In just one hall of Birmingham’s NEC venue, all major manufacturers were present, except Miele. To lower costs, stands were standardized, and there was a central hospitality area, so the focus was all on the products. The association estimates that they had 3,000 to 5,000 visitors.

So who can explain the UK better than market leader (and largest local manufacturer) Hotpoint, now part of Indesit Company? For many years Hotpoint was co-owned by U.S. General Electric and UK General Electric Company, before being sold to Indesit 3 years ago. “First, the UK market has taken over the number 1 position in Europe from Germany, in volume as well in value (excluding hoods),” Neil Tunstall, Hotpoint marketing director, told APPLIANCE during AMDEA 2005. “While Germans hesitate to renovate, the booming housing market in the UK is good for white goods sales. However, the UK market is very price-driven, much more than Germany, where the high-end brands are king. The concentration of retailers offers cutthroat competition.”

Mr. Tunstall added that the UK is seeing growth in the built-in market, which is offering better margins for the industry. In products, he said there are still some typical British habits: the double-oven, which have the starter in the grill and the roast in the oven, is only sold in the region. The fridge/freezers are split 50/50, because frozen food is more popular. Large milk and water bottles need larger door compartments. In laundry, because of the wet climate, more dryers are used, and washer-dryer combinations are much more popular than elsewhere. Washers are never in the bathroom, but in the kitchen.

Hotpoint has made several operational changes since the Indesit Company takeover, which Mr. Tunstall said has been fairly smooth. “We centralized the service in one center, from 13,” he notes. “Of course, we had disruptions, but now we can offer the best service in the market for the Hotpoint and Indesit brands. Hotpoint is still a mid- and upper-market brand, above Indesit. The merger allowed us to offer a much wider product palette for both brands. Indesit is a complete brand now, and Hotpoint has more built-in products, a former weak point.”

All of Hotpoint’s production lines are now integrated with Indesit’s operations, as are the platforms. For instance, all the European single-door fridges and freezers for Indesit are manufactured in the Peterborough facilities, and the dryer factory now makes an additional 400,000 dryers for export.

Another leading brand in the UK is Bosch. The company has adapted its products to the lower UK price levels, but decided that an additional value line was needed. Thus, the Viva brand was introduced at AMDEA.

“BSH does not want to put the Bosch or Siemens brand in the lower value-for-money segment, so we created a new brand,” says Ekkehard Rabold, group marketing manager. “Viva will not have a large-scale brand build-up and can be used for promotions. Still, people know it is a BSH brand and, therefore, a special price action still works better than for a real no-brand appliance.”

Fifth in the UK (after Hotpoint, Bosch, Zanussi, and Indesit) is Beko, the international brand from Turkish manufacturer Arçelik. This brand only started 10 years ago and is now reportedly in the top three in refrigeration and top five in washing. “We offer more features and better quality than our competitors in the entry to mid-level segment,” Marketing Divisional Director Ragip Balcioglu tells APPLIANCE. “Our workforce is young and well educated; they reflect the dynamic society Turkey has become. Many of our staff have been educated abroad from traditional families, but have become very innovative due to their international education. [They are] clearly a new generation. Culture at Arçelik is less hierarchical than, for instance, our Italian neighbors. A marketing manager has more power here and will solve his own problems instead of relaying everything to the boss.”

In products, Beko’s new 70-cm refrigerator line (a width traditionally only used in Turkey) has been a big success. The company’s top washer model loads 7 kg and spins at 1,600 rpm, but at an affordable price. Also new is a designer appliance range in stainless steel and in silver. Thanks to Arçelik’s purchase of UK brand Leisure, it offers high-end ovens, hobs, and ranges in heritage and contemporary styles, and in electric and dual-fuel.

On the AMDEA show floor, Danish refrigeration specialist Vestfrost exhibited a high-end design line, with beautifully sculpted doors and shelves, and with a sensor who opens the door for you. Hoover showed a vacuum cleaner/steam generator combination, as well as a new hose which can extend to double the normal length. Whirlpool showed a heavy-duty version of their large-capacity Duet washer, and BSH used AMDEA also to show the entirely new dryer platform, having a door with a window (unusual for dryers) and many other technical innovations.


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